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This is not your mama’s birth control

Meghan Mausteller
Staff Writer
mlm6713@lhup.edu

 

By Hic et nunc, commons.wikimedia.org

By Hic et nunc, commons.wikimedia.org

The IUD is a safe and effective form of birth control that is underutilized by young women in the United States.

IUD stands for intrauterine device and it is a tiny T-shaped device that is inserted directly into the uterus. It is a long-term birth control that can last from three to ten years. There are two types of IUDs available in the United States, hormonal and copper.

I use Skyla, a hormonal IUD. It is produced by the same company as Mirena, but is several millimeters smaller, making it a better fit for women who have never been pregnant.

Before switching to Skyla, I used “the pill” for five years.  It worked when I was in high school, but after starting college it became harder to manage.

When my mom casually mentioned switching to a different birth control method, I was more than a little resistant to the change. I heard all the horror stories about IUDs going through a woman’s uterus and making her infertile, or slipping and causing pregnancy. I also knew that the insertion process caused mild to strong discomfort.

But rather than refusing my mom’s advice, I did some research of my own. After looking at both NuvaRing and Depo-Provera, I went back to the IUD, but while my mom recommended Mirena, I looked at Skyla because it was designed for women my age.

The more I researched, the more I loved it. The IUD is one of the most effective forms of birth control available. Between 0.2 and 0.8 percent of women become pregnant while using an IUD. They are also incredibly safe, with less than one percent of users developing complications.

No artist credited, commons.wikimedia.org

IUDs also come highly recommended by gynecologists. Female ob-gyn usage of IUDs is three times higher than that of the general public.

Benefits of IUDs can include reduced period cramps and flow. For most users, menstruation flow is reduced by 90 percent and for many women it ceases entirely. It is also easily reversible and a woman can become pregnant soon after it is removed.

Like any form of birth control, it has side effects and it’s not for everyone; however, I encourage all women to wade through the mountains of misinformation and look into more effective forms of birth control. It’s time to open our eyes to birth control in the 21st century.

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